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Michael John Smith

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  1. Thank you Pamo Here is someone else with the same thought: Mahler Zain - Open Your Eyes, Heart and Mind - Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqWxlbm9-7M
  2. The mind of the pretty girl and the mind of the tiny mosquito is as vast as space. When I sleep the pretty girl sleeps and the tiny mosquito sleeps. When I meditate, we all meditate.
  3. Can we please discuss the business and lifestyle notions of thrift and efficiency with respect to the Buddhist practice of generosity? Can ideas about saving time and money somehow run contrary to the perfection of giving? Also can we really create wealth other than through the practice of generosity?
  4. The Buddha advises we adopt the following methods of working with emotions: Reflection on impermanence and the unpleasant aspect of a person or thing counteracts attachment. Cultivating patience and love opposes anger. Cultivating wisdom demolishes ignorance. Reflecting that all we know and have comes from others eliminates pride. Rejoicing prevents jealousy. Following the breath diminishes doubt. Contemplating our precious human life dispels depression. Meditating on compassion counteracts low self-esteem. We should neither suppress an emotion or follow through on it but attend to it by recognizing it as it arises in our mind and applying the appropriate antidote but know that whatever happens the emotion will not last long in our minds if we do not grasp it and give it too much importance.
  5. The greatest generosity is non-attachment. The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind. The greatest patience is humility. The greatest effort is not concerned with results. The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go. The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances. - Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master) I think if we look closely at the six perfections here we can see that goodness, or a peaceful mind, follows from generosity, or non-attachment and patience, or humility, comes from goodness, or a peaceful mind - and so on. All six perfections are linked - one following hard on the heels of the other and starting the cycle again with greater intensity once we have gained some wisdom or insight. Please share your thoughts.
  6. Is not fear just attachment to a wrongly perceived self - a self, which is frightened of what somebody will think of them or what will happen to them? The realization that there is no death or birth such as a cloud not dying when it rains but still able to be seen in the rain - transformed not dead or born - is in a sense renouncing fear and with it attachment to a false idea of an inherent self - it is in a sense transcending a view of the world and knowing directly or attaining wisdom.
  7. What do we mean in Mahayana Buddhism by ignorance?
  8. Since our present is dependent on past causes we can say our karma is linked to the extent that we share the same present - this moment of reality, not just our own perception of it but how it really is.
  9. Patience is I think to really be in this moment without thinking about what might be coming up or analyzing what came before. This involves a letting go of our thoughts, which are otherwise often in the past or future, grabbing after this or that, dissatisfied with this or that, dreaming about changing this or that. When we are in the here or now, patient in accepting the here and now and what we really have, we can begin to see the interconnections between ourselves and others because we are no longer forcing anything. We are also really accepting the idea of impermanence without trying to change the way things change by clinging onto our thoughts, emotions or even possessions.
  10. Karma is intersubjective and that the course of each and every stream of consciousness (changing individual) is profoundly influenced by its relation with other consciousness streams." ~ From Twenty Verses of Acharya Vasubhandu.
  11. I have come to certain conclusions about the compassionate wish for enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings – bodhicitta – the Mahayana motivation. I think realizing each of the six perfections – generosity, morality or ethics, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration or meditation and wisdom – is motivated by the four immeasurables – love (to wish that sentient beings possess both the causes and the results of happiness), compassion (to wish that sentient beings be free from the causes and effects of suffering), joy (to wish that sentient beings never be apart from happiness) and equanimity (to wish that sentient beings be free from attachment and aversion). This means we generate generosity and give away our possessions, body and merit because of our love and compassion for our fellow human beings and our emphatic joy for their happiness and wish that they be free from attachment and aversion. Likewise we are moral and keep the precepts for the same reason – the same thing motivates us – love, compassion, joy and equanimity. This motivation is also behind our realization of patience, enthusiastic perseverance, meditative practice and indeed the wisdom, which underlies all the perfections. Of course in reality we possess all of the six perfections and all of the four immeasurables – they are the wisdom and compassion aspects of our Buddha –nature – perhaps we can call one the reality and the other the means but in practice this is not important. Because they represent the two aspects of the Buddha’s mind, we can surely try to put each and all together into our daily practice.
  12. I suppose patience is something we naturally have but it gets disturbed as soon as we get irritated by something and we grasp at this and it becomes anger - and how does this relate to the idea of accepting impermanence - I believe it is because we get irritated or impatient with the idea of impermanence because we want quick relief or because we really want things to stay the same, which are two extremes showing us we have not really accepted the idea of impermanence yet - and then because we suffer, we get angry and impatient and this just fuels our ignorance and lack of acceptance of impermanence.
  13. I think the antidote to laziness is to meditate on impermanence or more specifically, death. This is because this precious life is too short to waste by not practicing. But is this enough? I mean unless we are patient we are in danger of wanting to be enlightened in a single day or at most a week or two - this is surely just another kind of laziness, to rush around all over the place. How do we balance impermanence with patience?
  14. Of course this is true because the six perfections are an expression of the four immeasurables and the other way around. When we have love (to wish that sentient beings possess both the causes and the results of happiness), compassion (to wish that sentient beings be free from the causes and effects of suffering), joy (to wish that sentient beings never be apart from happiness) and equanimity (to wish that sentient beings be free from attachment and aversion),we already have the six perfections of generosity, morality, patience, energy, perseverance, meditation and wisdom. To practice one set is to practice the other - they are two aspects of bodhicitta. So when we give away our possessions, body and merit with perfect morality, patience, perseverance, meditation and wisdom present we are expressing our love, compassion. joy and equanimity to all sentient beings - bodhicitta is present and we possess the perfectly compassionate and wise mind of the Buddha. So, starting with a meditation on the meaning of love, we can reach some kind of understanding of the meaning of bodhicitta, or the wish for enlightenment for all sentient beings.
  15. I think, love is about giving, it's just another word for giving. We want to give everything to someone we really love. We find ourselves giving them most of our time - they always seem to be in our thoughts. We also want to share everything we find enjoyable or interesting with them, including our innermost secrets. This love, or giving, is really opening our hearts to someone we feel we can give to. Ideally our heart should be big enough to want to give to everyone because actually they all need it - this is what we really mean by blind love. If we are looking for someone special to favor with our love we must look for a person we know we can continue giving love too - someone compatible with us in much more than just one way. We should not go around seeking people to give a little to for a short time and then taking our love away again and breaking hearts. Like I said love is about giving not taking - we shouldn't be so interested all the time in what we will get out of it - true happiness comes out of giving not taking and this includes love. When we find that we are no longer able to give anything in a relationship, then and only then is it time to think about opting out of it. Thus, when we give some money to a beggar we don't even know, this is love but it's not very much love. If we inquire about his health, give money continuously and include him in our practice this is greater, deeper love. Love must be cultivated, step-by-step - first loving those you are close to, then those you are neutral about and finally those you don't like or consider your enemies. Please, what are your thoughts on the question of love?
  16. Mingyur Rinpoche - Using Panic Attacks for Meditation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5bpe6fXuPk&p=4600BFEA6827909F&playnext=1&index=21
  17. Dear raistlin, Drugs themselves do not lead to finding a meaning in life - it is the other way round - people mistakenly turn to drugs looking for a meaning to their lives. And I say mistakenly, because it is only when they realize it was a mistake to think drugs could help them that they are able to make progress. And think because you can remember when you were very young having the correct motivation but somehow along the way it got twisted. This happens for sure - I mean not just to you but lots of us. The thing to do now is to continue looking for the answers but this time outside of drugs - to have regrets yes, but not guilt - then move forward, as you are doing - courageously.
  18. I am very happy to read this Alexander, as you are thanking those people who helped you survive school. I would like to say that I recently became a vegetarian and I expected all kinds of trouble regarding this from my wife taking it into consideration when cooking to the people I associate with - none of them vegetarians. But I have been pleasantly surprised at the way people have gone out of their way to specially cook or prepare food for me. I also gave up drinking alcohol nearly two years ago and am happy to report I was never made to feel bad about this either. So I too would like to thank those people I know who support me in my struggle to be a better person, a person more true to myself. Be the change you want to see Alexander and please count me as one of your supporters.
  19. This is the link to the first of four recent teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Diamond Sutra:
  20. I still think that if someone has managed to help us then a karmic connection exists and where we are unable to help or be helped then the karmic connection has been broken. I think that as our bodhicitta increases and our wisdom mind or realisation of the empty nature of phenomena also manifests we shall be able to form karmic connections with more beings and help more beings. Milarepa's life (from sinner to saint) proves that enlightenment is possible in one lifetime - that is, a person's perception of the reality can change to correspond to the original perception of his/her Buddhanature in this very lifetime. BUT, what kind of karma, if any, does a Buddha create?
  21. Anyone who has really helped us in some way or another must have some karmic connection to us or he/she would have been unable to help and because of that karmic connection they are open to our help. Likewise of course anyone who has harmed us in any way is also karmically connected with us and has therefore also proved themselves open to our help. Those people who have neither harmed nor helped us are of course worthy of our attention, as it would be worthwhile establishing some kind of karmic connection at whatever level for future benefits to flow either way.
  22. When we find refuge in ourselves, in the stillness of our body, the silence of our speech and the spaciousness of our mind we are protecting not only ouselves but others open to our protection - we hold ourselves within our space but also many others within that limitless space. If our first reaction is to get angry at someone because of something he or she has said or done but we take refuge in our own stillness, silence and spaciousness, the anger is transformed into compassion for that person and he or she is held dearly within our field of compassion, within our intrinsic awareness of both our own and his/her true nature. Can we even talk of karma or karmic connection within that refuge of stillness, silence and spaciousness?
  23. Any comments please? "If we can attain nondual, nonconceptual awareness in meditation, we are engaged in profound political activity, . . . While our nondualistic, nonconceptual meditation is purifying our own obscurations and afflictions and thereby transforming our personal experience of others, it is also becoming a spark of buddha activity in those others. As our meditation becomes effective, the attitude of others towards us begins to change, and they themselves begin to turn inward and to search with greater conscientiousness through the stuff of their own minds and lives for spiritual solutions to their own problems. And as the power of our meditation increases, this effect reaches ever-widening concentric circles of sentient beings with whom we have karmic interdependence, which in this day and age includes not only our immediate family and friends, working associates, and local communities, but also everyone with whom we are connected through all the media of our lives. --from The Ninth Karmapa's Ocean of Definitive Meaning by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, edited, introduced and annotated by Lama Tashi Namgyal "
  24. With respect to helping others achieve enlightenment, sometimes a Bodhisattva can help where a Buddha cannot - I think it really depends on karmic connections we may or may not have with each other. At the present time it is my not seeing all compounded phenomena as impermenant that is causing me to suffer, so I try to meditate on impermenance. I don't think an Arhant is an arhant forever - I believe he will find the causes and conditions to turn him into a Buddha. Maybe I can help him - I don't know. All I know is that the more I see the interdependent nature of all things, the more I would like to help other beings find happiness and the causes of happiness. I don't believe in the separation of wisdom and compassion - I believe one grows with the other. As we become more compassionate, so we find the means to help others and as we help others we learn about the special means by which to help even more beings. We cannot help others without the wisdom to do so but that wisdom cannot be generated without the wish to help others.
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